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Album Review

The tag end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s brought a river of permissiveness into film, with sexploitation getting a pretty good foothold in American drive-ins and cheap theaters — not porn, but softcore weirdness involving lots of young people running around naked in whatever circumstances could be concocted. As good as America's breed of low-rent filmmakers got with this, though, they couldn't hold a candle to the Europeans — particularly the Germans, who all but turned softcore into a science. It may well be that America retreated to cheap horror movies in self-defense (and a case could be made that the English also beat a retreat, assuming a hardcore literary stance). And so, Germany produced Schulmäedchen Report (Schoolgirl Report), its many sequels, and its ilk. There were a lot of them, many of which wound up exported, badly dubbed, and run to death. If they didn't have a soundtrack by Gert Wilden & His Orchestra, then they weren't worth bothering with — well, at least according to the liner notes here. Going by the evidence at hand, the liner notes might well be right. Wilden's music is a wonderfully demented pastiche that takes its inspiration from all kinds of sources — "Dirty Beat" swipes from Led Zeppelin, but chucks in bits of acid rock, crazed Farfisa organ, and drum work that sounds like tap-dancing piledrivers. Other cuts teeter on the edge of pure lounge, there's bits of smoky jazz, R&B, crazily mangled surf music, whatever else can be jammed in and will stick — listening to this is like dealing with weather in Vermont: wait a couple of minutes and it'll change completely. One moment it's lolling saxophone, and the next it's James Last on amphetamines. It all fits, it's often hilarious, and it is absolutely worth keeping on hand. The album producers have also provided multiple liner notes (in English, German, and very small type) that explain the background of the films, provide biographical information about Gert Wilden, and have a little fun with the audience. Lobby cards and stills are scattered liberally throughout so that booklet begins to resemble a photo essay on nudism (the booklet front and the tray card feature nude stills as well; no disguises evident here.) The music, however, remains interesting long after the images have become boring.


Born: April 15, 1917 in Maehrisch Trubau, Czechoslovakia

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '90s

German conductor and composer Gert Wilden labored in semi-obscurity for most of his professional career. He provided themes and incidental music for literally dozens of European films and TV shows from the mid-'50s through the '80s, while never gaining the renown of contemporaries like Peter Thomas or Martin Boettcher. The tongue-in-cheek exotica revival of the mid-'90s, however, bought a new interest in previously unnoticed genres, and two CDs of Wilden's music, Schulmadchen Report and I Told You...
Full Bio
Schulmädchenreport, Gert Wilden
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